Falling in Love with Black and White All Over Again…

Who could imagine butterflies could look so pretty in B&W

“Life is like a good black and white photograph,
there’s black, there’s white,
and lots of shades in between.”

-Karl Heiner

My passion for photography began many years ago, too many to count, inspired by the B&W work of the great masters.

Besides collecting portfolios by Margaret Bourke-White, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Amsel Adams and many others, I went ahead and enrolled in several photography courses. Basic photography, advanced photography, commercial, portrait you name it..but my best course ever was learning how to work in a darkroom. My teacher, Mr. Tanaka, a Japanese-Brazilian, not only taught me the basics but shared with me many tips and secrets of the art of developing the perfect film and producing the perfect print, or at least trying to.

Enjoying Life

Soon after I ended my course I invested in a darkroom. I wanted something portable that I could carry with me everywhere and I found a small Durst enlarger that could perfectly fit inside a suitcase, or even on a carry-on….and so I began this wonderful journey through the world of black & white photography where I could control everything but the manufacturing of the film.

Cattail against a dramatic sky only an effect that B&W can provide

From the moment the film was installed in my camera I had absolute control of the process that would lead to the final product… that “perfect print”. Of course perfection is very relative and what might have been perfect for me was far from perfect for others, but that is part of the subjectivity that characterizes the art world.

B&W helps highlight the beautiful architecture of a rose

Needless to say this darkroom or I would say the enlarger with some other key tools, including a great lens (everything else is easy replaceable) traveled with me around the world. As a matter of fact, I still have it around inside a trunk with the rest of my darkroom equipment decorating my living room.

Every single detail of this gorgeous elephant comes to life

With the advent of digital photography, which I did not embrace right away, I had a lot of trouble getting use to the new technology, particularly with B&W photography. Although pictures were sharp and with great color saturation, the texture was missing. Film photography provides a very subtle perception of three-dimensionality that is even more palpable when using B&W films. That special effect totally disappeared from my pictures and with that the magic of B&W.

Drops of water on a dry lily pad

Of course I had and still have a lot of material that I began to scan and improve with the help of my digital darkroom …that is until not long ago when I decided to open my horizons from the Photoshop world and try a new software and voilà I found magic again…

B&W helps us focus on the drama of a scene

Let me say one more thing, I’m not writing on behalf of any company and what worked for me might not work for other people in the same way that what worked for other people did not work for me. Also for those purists that are against any type of photo manipulation let me quote Ansel Adams,“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
*Pictures were transformed to B&W using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2

If you want to see more pictures please visit my album Textures of Nature

2 responses to “Falling in Love with Black and White All Over Again…”

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